Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Doing Our Duty

                    Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when each of us - men, women, teenagers, and children - learn to do our duty to God, to our country, and to ourselves and our fellowmen.  Learning what we should do is one thing, but learning to fulfill our duty is something else.  We each have different duties to perform, but we also have the same or similar duties, such as setting good examples for others and helping others along our way.

                    Our Savior, even the Lord Jesus Christ, wants us to follow His example and give the same kind of service to others that He would do.  He taught us that we should love our neighbors as ourselves with the parable of the Good Samaritan.  He taught us to be unselfish with our worldly goods in His answer to the rich young ruler.  When he fed the 5,000 people with two fish and seven loaves of bread, He taught us to see the needs of others.  He told us plainly in the Sermon on the Mount that we should seek first the kingdom of God.

                    How do we best follow the Lord's example and do His will?  The Lord wants us to lose our lives in service to each other.  Think of the good that could happen in our homes if every husband and every wife simply and sincerely served their spouse.  Think of the strength that would come to the rising generation if every parent truly served his or her child or children.  Think of the good that could take place in our communities if every member of those communities was more interested in helping others than in receiving help. 

                    Jesus Christ taught the importance of doing our duties when He declared:  "For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
                    "For every tree is known by his own fruit.  For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.
                    "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil:  for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
                    "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
                    "Whosoever cometh to me and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
                    "He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock:  and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it:  for it was founded upon a rock.
                    "But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great" (Luke 6:43-49).

                    The Lord has promised His help when we follow His counsel, and He does not let us down.  President Ezra Taft Benson, the late President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said, "[The Lord] will not permit us to fail if we do our part.  He will magnify us even beyond our own talents and abilities….  It is one of the sweetest experiences that can come to a human being." (See Teaching, No Greater Call [1999], 20).

                    We live in a period of great darkness in the world, a time when millions of people are seeking for greater light.  We can help our brothers and sisters find their way through the darkness by holding up the light of Christ for all mankind to see.  This is our duty as children of our Heavenly Father.

                    "Most of us don't mind doing what we ought to do when it doesn't interfere with what we want to do, but it takes discipline and maturity to do what we ought to do whether we want to or not.  Duty is too often what one expects from others and not what one does.  What people think and believe and plan are all very important, but what they do is the thing that counts most.  It is a call to throw out selfishness and to think of the common good of all.
                    "We must always remember that duty reminds us we are stewards of all that our Creator has entrusted to us.  When we accept duties willingly and faithfully, we find happiness.  Those who make happiness the chief objective of life are bound to fail, for happiness is a by-product rather than an end in itself.  Happiness comes from doing one's duty and knowing that his life is in harmony with God and His commandments….
                    "Every successful man and woman in the history of the world has known his or her duty and has had a firm desire to fulfill it…
                    "Life requires us to perform many duties - some routine, others more meaningful and important.  An integral part of duty is to set the proper example and to take every opportunity to bolster others along this uphill road of life…."  (See Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin in "Learn Your Duty," Ensign, August 2012, 16-17.)

                    As Christians, we have a duty to do good to all men, and we should never "weary in well-doing" (Doctrine and Covenants 64:33).  We can start by doing good in our own homes and families and then branching out into our communities. When we teach the rising generation to understand that we all have a duty to serve our fellow human beings, we strengthen our homes, communities, and nation.

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